The Art of Rejection

Getting rejected can be a rotten feeling. Getting told that the work you have done is bad. Getting told that you’re no good. Sometimes, they don’t say anything at all and their silence is what kills you. Now, the kind of rejection I am talking about is the kind of rejection that comes with being a filmmaker, or an artist in general. It is going to happen, but you can’t let it get you down. It comes with the territory.

Nobody ever got anywhere by being great all the time. The only way to learn in this industry is to fail. By failing we call attention to our weaknesses. Once we realize a weakness we are then able to make it better. In short: we learn from our mistakes (as cliché as that is to say). Of course it is going to suck when you get rejected, but you have to take it in stride. This can apply to any aspect of life, not just film or art. Take each rejection, each failure, and turn it around. It will be easy to point out every negative aspect of the rejection, but it is far harder, and more beneficial, to point out all the good that a rejection can have. Rejection is not 100% bad.

For example, you submit a film which you think is your best work to a film festival but they reject it. Instead of getting down on yourself try looking at your film in a different light. Maybe there is something you can change around in it. You could be just a few quick edits away from greatness, and that acceptance you are craving. Maybe there is something else glaringly wrong with it that you just didn’t know or see before. Sometimes it takes a rejection to help us see things more clearly.

Rejection never gets easier to swallow, but we can lessen the blow each time by being productive with the result we have been given. The first thing you can do is submit it somewhere else. Maybe that festival, or that publisher, or that agent, or that company wasn’t the right fit for you, but someone else will get what you are trying to say. This happens all the time. If you find that you just can’t get it accepted anywhere you could try changing it a little bit. Just be sure not to sacrifice your artistic vision. That is something that you should never give up. Rejection is an art form in itself. You can let it take a hold of you and crush you beneath its weight, or you can take control of it and bend it any which way you choose. The choice is yours.


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